A Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader’s half-brother with a nerve agent thought she was taking part in a practical joke and only realised he was dead after her arrest, a court heard Tuesday.
Doan Thi Huong is on trial with Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah over the Cold War-style killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13 last year.
Defence lawyers have argued that the women were recruited to take part in what they thought were prank TV shows but were instead tricked into becoming inadvertent assassins, in an elaborate plot by a group of North Korean agents.
The women, in their 20s, have denied murdering Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother by smearing VX nerve agent on his face as he waited for a flight to Macau. They face death by hanging if found guilty.
Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the trial that one of four North Koreans suspected of involvement in the murder had recruited the Vietnamese woman to perform what she thought were pranks.
According to Huong’s police statement presented to the High Court in Shah Alam, she travelled to Malaysia not long before the assassination.
In the days before the murder, Huong went to Kuala Lumpur airport twice and met the North Korean, whom she knew as Mr. Y, according to the statement.
The court previously heard his real name was Ri Ji Hyon, and he fled Malaysia shortly after the murder with the other North Korean suspects.
Under his instructions Huong carried out pranks which involved sneaking up behind people and rubbing her hands on their face, the court heard.
On the day of the assassination, Mr Y. gave her an oily substance that she rubbed on the face of a man.
After washing her hands, she took a taxi back to her hotel.
She only found out he was dead on February 16 — a day after her arrest — when police told her, according to her statement.
Aisyah, who attacked Kim around the same time as Huong, also claimed she was hired to conduct pranks.
“Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong are scapegoats,” lawyer Hisyam told the court, as he questioned the chief investigating police officer, Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz. The trial continues.
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San Francisco was battered by a heavy winter storm on Saturday that caused localized flooding throughout the city.
"A low pressure system off the Northern California coast Saturday hurled bans of strong downpours into the Bay Area, triggering a flood warning for San Francisco," KPIX-TV reported.
"San Francisco Muni officials tweeted that train service between West Portal to Embarcadero Station had been shut down due to flooding. Several streets were flooded in San Francisco’s western neighborhood including knee-high water at 15th Ave and Wawona," the station noted.
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North Korea state media reported on a "successful" test at a missile launch site.
"A very important test took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the afternoon of December 7, 2019," a spokesperson for the Academy of the National Defense Science said.
The spokesperson said the test was "of great significance to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.
#UPDATE North Korea conducts a "very important test" at its Sohae satellite launch site, state media reports, as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked https://t.co/abYhRDvBic pic.twitter.com/neCYEQTEhf
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"In an attempt to exonerate President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani has been working with right-wing media outlet One America News Network (OAN) to produce a television special featuring a string of current and former Ukrainian officials defending Trump’s conduct in withholding military aid to Ukraine and seeking investigations of the Bidens," Law & Crime reported Saturday.